Court Leet Dinners have been a regular feature of the Freemen’s traditions.

According to early records of the Llantrisant Town Trust minutes, Court Leet ceremonies from 1889 onwards were often followed by a dinner although this appears to have ended in the 1930s.

These early dinners have been held in a variety of local establishments, particularly the New Inn and George Inn on Swan Street or the Cross Keys on High Street.

The tradition was revived in 1953 and with the opening of a new clubhouse for Llantrisant RFC at Cefn Mabley the Court Leet was held in the Main Hall and for a period held their dinners in the newly built Leisure Centre at Southgate.

It was there that the Centenary Dinner in 1989 was held with a host of dignitaries in attendance. The list of guests over the years has been wide and varied from former Prime Minister James Callaghan to actor Glyn Houston.

Today the Court Leet Dinner is held annually in the large main hall of the Llantrisant RFC clubhouse. The wonderful atmosphere of the event is created by the Freemen who rejoice in their ancient traditions and the camaraderie they feel for one another. 

The Black Army

One of the first known references to the Black Army took place in the diary of 18th century schoolmaster of Michaelston super Ely, William Thomas.

Under 2 February 1763 he records the death of “old Catherine of Court Llantrisant” at the age of 113 and goes on to state that “She was one of ye Black Army of Lantrissent.”

The term Black Army derives of course from the Battle of Crecy in 1346 when longbowmen of Glamorgan – including Llantrisant – fought for Edward Woodstock against the French.

The son of Edward III and better known as the Black Prince, Edward was the first Knight of the Garter.

It is uncertain where the term “The Black Prince” came from and certainly wasn’t attributed to him until at least 150 years after his death aged 45. Some believe It was due to his black shield and armour, while others argue it was down to his brutal reputation, particularly towards the French in Aquitaine and Crecy.

As the Black Prince’s longbowmen, it became a tradition to call the people of Llantrisant the Black Army in honour of their role in the pivotal battle.

Today the Llantrisant RFC are known throughout Welsh rugby as The Black Army.